ALL HAIL THE UNSCRIPTED SITCOM
Initially, I was disappointed that Charmed was a rerun and that Desperate Housewives wasn’t even on at all. But then…then I found two of my favorite shows on back to back. They're both unscripted sitcoms, and although you might think it's weird for a writer to recommend a comedy that has no script, you must remember that I'm also a big fan of improv--essentially, the actors are writing the scene as they perform it. I laughed myself off my sofa.
Say the names with me, people, so you don’t ever forget them:
Arrested Development, 8:30 on FOX.
Significant Others, 9pm on Bravo.
“I’ve got Pop-Pop in the attic.”
-- On an escaped criminal paterfamilias, Arrested Development
People have been telling me to watch Arrested Development ever since it first premiered. But I figured, Jason Bateman? (I remember It’s Your Move…and Teen Wolf Too...) And how can I abandon the Charmed Ones? Turns out, it’s very easy. Hilarious situations, intensely real dialogue, confounded looks from every member of the family at some point during each episode, and laugh out loud humor that makes me want to drop everything and run to Hollywood to audition for this show.
“It’s a magic room, filled with love.”
--On the “adult” section in a video store, Significant Others
Loved it back in March when I first saw it, then it vanished from the Bravo schedule. I’m not gonna lie, one of the reasons I like it is because it portrays the fact that not all couples are happy go-lucky sunshine and flowers all the time. It tells the stories of several couples in therapy: each partner tries to cope with their partner’s not-insubstantial bizarreness, and tries to remain unabashedly themselves. The frustration between the sexes that plagues us as singles apparently continues even after the wedding itself. And for some reason, I find that comforting. He who makes me laugh every time? Herschel Bleefeld as Ethan. (Dude, I think I love you. And your name is Herschel. Which makes you, in my book, Jewlicious. Or at least Jewriffic.)
As I noted, these shows are largely unscripted--storylines are set but the dialogue is improvised. The result is dialogue and character relationships that are more spontaneous, more truthful, and infinitely more hilarious. Try 'em, you'll like 'em.